344,940 words and Still No Finished Novel

I just got my four-week report from Grammarly.  It said I wrote 344,940 words this month.  A novel (according to my contracts) is 100,000 words.  I wrote three and a half novels this month, evidently mostly in rewrites of the first part of Nita’s Act One (the only doc I’d uploaded), e-mails, texts, blog posts, and comments.  What’s really weird is that I deleted the Grammarly app, so it’s become an invasive app, like butterfly bush, sneaking in everywhere.

The thing is, I like Grammarly on the net; it catches my mistakes when I e-mail or write posts and it makes it easy to correct them, although about 90% of the time I hit “ignore.”  It also lets me put the words I use that I don’t like into my own dictionary.  Here’s my dictionary so far:

But back to that 344,940 words.  At least 300,000 of those are blog posts, blog post drafts, comments, and e-mails.  That’s a sobering thought.  Every word I’m typing right now could be part of Nita’s book and clearly, they’re not. Although, trust me, I have hundreds of thousands of words of Nita’s book.   And some of those words are from the big four posts of the week which takes me about an hour each week to set up, so that’s not bad.  And a lot of them are from commenting here.  And I don’t talk to people much, aside from my neighbors who are lovely; most of my communication is typed, so maybe that’s not so outrageous after all.  
But still, sobering.  
So back to Nita.  This week, I’m going to get all the files organized so I have ONE version of each act (the rest can go in draft files), and write all the sex scenes so I make sure they arc.  I think there are three, one bad, one disconcerting, and one where they get it right.  I don’t like writing sex scenes unless something’s going wrong or something else important is happening or, best of all, something is going wrong while something else is happening.  
It’s a plan.
344,940 words that weren’t Nita.  Damn.

26 thoughts on “344,940 words and Still No Finished Novel

  1. OT. When you said you had lovely neighbors, it caught my attention because it is wonderful when that happens. In almost 50 years, I have lived in about 12 different places, for the last 35 in the same house. And having neighbors you don’t have to actively avoid is nice. Having neighbors you look forward to chatting with and seeing is beyond wonderful.

    Way to go on Nita. Does Grammarly count the words you type then instantly delete because they made no sense? Because I do that a lot and it would double my word count.

  2. I think it counts all of them.

    We had one neighbor who was so toxic she made me cry. I don’t cry, but it was about a day after I’d moved in, it had been a really bad day already, and then she showed up, spewing bile. I went across the street to my neighbor, Kathleen the Saint (seriously) and told her and she said, “Ignore her. She’s awful to everybody.” Then the bad lady moved. I was so happy.

    1. She sounds awful. I’m glad she moved!

      My neighbor story: When I moved into my current place, a neighbor lady came by to tell me that her apartment was flooded, the owners wouldn’t fix it despite repeated complaining and mine would probably flood too. 🙁 I thought I ended the conversation and went into my apartment. I left the door open for the movers and she walked in and wandered around commenting on how much nicer it was than hers. I was in so much shock at her audacity, I couldn’t even ask her to leave. When she offered to show me her place (it really was pretty bad) I accepted in order to get her out of my place.

      She was cheery like that every time I ran into her in the parking lot. She asked me if she could move in with me (we were NOT close or friends). When I spoke of her to others, I referred to her as the Harbinger of Doom.

      I too was so glad when she moved – I have no idea where.

  3. It it me or is this post lacking a title?

    Wordy wordy words, I feel like that dude in “With honours” who told everyone he was writing when in fact he was doing nothing. At least I keep saying that my writing has stalled.

  4. Ack, I’ve been distracted.

    Just got all the Nita files into one folder: 890 MB for 1, 846 files.
    And now I must winnow. After I title this post.

  5. You have my sympathy. I spent 3 months (bad months, no good bad months that were hard to be at all creative in) writing 40,000 words on a contemporary romance for my agent to send out. She loved the premise. The execution, not so much, apparently, since I got an email this afternoon telling me that it was completely unworkable. Not, “revise this” or “fix that part.” Just, “In the current market, I don’t think I can sell this.”

    40,000 words. Three months time. I should have just written more blog posts.

    1. I’ve had that happen to me. My editor looked at what I’d written, patted me on the back, and said, “Maybe something else.”
      At least it’s not a finished novel. I had one of those once that nobody wanted, but that was because it was bad, not unmarketable.

  6. You wrote more than 300,000 words and a pile of them were comments on blog posts? That’s a lot of words. I find it hard to believe they were all on Argh. Does that mean there are other blogs out there where you’re commenting and I could stalk you, oops I mean, join in?

    1. I bet it’s the comments on her own posts that helps it to add up. And with living away from erryborry, methinks long emails are a necessity.

      Jenny, does grammarly count when you Lani and Krissie do group chats?

      1. We haven’t done group chats in ages. Lani has a great new job and two kids in high school, and Krissie is up to her eyebrows in e-publishing her backlist. And I have this book to finish . . .

        I think it’s probably here, which is okay, this is the only pr I do, which gives you an idea of how bad I am at it. I check the comments here at least daily because it’s important to me that this is a safe space, no spam, no trolls, nobody being mean. I think I’ve yanked three comments in twelve years, so it’s a great community, and I want to keep it that way.

        But really it’s probably the posts because when I do a real post, not one of the four, I rewrite it obsessively. I rewrite everything obsessively. Even the four weekly posts get at least one rewrite. So that generates a lot of words. It’s entirely possible that they count the entire blog post all over again everytime I hit Save, and that would really add up.

        1. That’d make sense, if it counts every word again every time you hit Save. Otherwise, it really does seem like an impossible number of words for Argh. What I’m really trying to say, in case you do feel bothered by how many words you’re writing that aren’t Nina, is that there’s a good chance that Grammarly’s algorithm just doesn’t give useful results for the way you write.

          1. I think that’s true. It was just weird to see that number.
            I imagine if I had it plugged into Word. Do you know how many times I’ve rewritten that breakfast scene? It would be in millions by now.

    2. Not usually, no. Every now and then–maybe twice a year–I comment on a WaPo article, usually when some woman writer is getting a lot of “aren’t you over-reacting?” comments to a perfectly sane article pointing on a problem. Same with AV Club. I think I’ve commented twice at WaPo and maybe four times at AV Club in my entire time reading them. So nope, this is where I comment.

    1. I think it is. Did I put “tazed”?

      I just rewrote the Breakfast scene for the five thousandth time. It was 3890 words. Now it’s 4327. And I’m hungry for eggs.

      I’m just trying to put too much stuff in there. ARGH. Actually, Argh may be the solution.

  7. LOL, I struggle with misplaced time in this way. If I’d just stop surfing the internet, I’d (write a novel) (have a beautiful garden) (take on an English teaching job) (read more)(master the Fmaj7 chord). But actually, I think if I stopped surfing the internet, I might stop (at least for awhile). I’d curl up with my thoughts, and go around and around and around. Who knows? It might be healthy, it might be deadly.

    At any rate, the extra wordage keeps your fingers and your mind limber, and you ARE working on Nita, so maybe it’s all good in the end.

  8. And the breakfast scene is now 3761 words, instead of 4327. Of course, the six hundred words I cut were Deathless Prose, but the scene is better. Also, I rock.


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